Riverhead Town police arrested a 21-year-old Calverton man in connection to a pair of armed robberies Sunday night. Two teenagers were also arrested and police recovered a handgun from a vehicle parked at Riverhead High School that allegedly belonged to a student.
Police responded to the Peconic riverfront Tuesday morning after a 911 call from man who had been driving through the parking lot when Matthew Pittman allegedly became agitated and displayed a handgun. He allegedly pointed the gun at the direction of the driver “in a threatening manner.”
Officers arrived at about 8:13 a.m. and arrested Mr. Pittman. Detectives responded to the scene and recovered a 10mm handgun as well as a defaced .22-caliber handgun.
During the investigation, police determined Mr. Pittman was responsible for the robbery on Third Street as well as at the Mobil gas station on Route 58.
At the gas station, the employee complied when the suspect demanded money and then escaped and ran across Pulaski Street. Mr. Pittman allegedly followed the clerk on foot and fired multiple shots. Police determined 11 spent shell casings were recovered at the scene, indicating a total of 11 shots were fired in the direction of the clerk
No injuries were reported.
Police also recovered a 9mm ghost gun that was reportedly used in the “commission of both robberies.”
Mr. Pittman faces charges for crimes on both Sunday and Tuesday. He faces multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing related to Tuesday’s crime. He’s also charged with first-degree robbery and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon for the Third Street robbery. He faces an additional first-degree robbery charge for the gas station incident, as well first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree menacing and criminal possession of a weapon for the gas station robbery.
Mr. Pittman was arraigned in Riverhead Town Justice Court Wednesday morning before Judge Sean Walter and was remanded without bail. He pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor charges and entered “general denial” to the felony charges. Cases involving felonies eventually are moved to county court. He was represented by attorney Steven Wilutis of Miller Place.
Police did not disclose the identities of the teenagers arrested.
One teen faces multiple counts of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds. The teen also faces charges of obstructing governmental administration and tampering with physical evidence.
A second teen was determined to be the driver of a vehicle in each robbery. He faces two counts of fourth-degree criminal facilitation.
Riverhead Superintendent Augustine Tornatore sent a letter Tuesday to the school community that the district was informed by police of an incident that took place off school grounds and possibly involved a district student. Police were at the high school in the afternoon to speak to several students, he said.
“The Riverhead Central School District is fully cooperating with the Riverhead Police Department as it continues its investigation,” Mr. Tornatore wrote.
The district does not plan to release additional information, he said.
Police had previously responded to the high school Friday for a separate incident. Police Chief David Hegermiller said a 17-year-old student was charged with menacing Friday following an incident with a female student at the school.
The student was processed and released on an appearance ticket, the chief said. Police did not release the students’ name due to his age, the chief said.
Mr. Pittman was arrested by Suffolk County police in 2018 at the age of 17 for a shooting at Calverton Hills.